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Protection from Sex Offenders

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio seeks to provide girls with a safe environment in which they can learn and grow. In keeping with this standard, the following guidelines have been established to help protect girls from the threat of sexual predators. 

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio property (camps and service centers) will be monitored for the presence of registered sexual predators on a regular basis. If a sexual predator (who meets the guidelines described below) is identified within a one mile radius of the property, all campers / facility users will be notified in writing and provided with a "Girl Safety Sheet" and a sample parent notification letter.

All Girl Scout volunteers are encouraged to:
  • Provide girls with information and activities that will prepare them to "stay safe."
  • Use the Sexual Offender Registries to monitor the potential presence of sexual offenders near their troop/group meeting sites and to notify parents should a sexual predator be identified within one mile of the meeting site.

In addition, any known sex offender is not permitted to attend any Girl Scout activity. This limiation applies to troop, community and council activities that are planned and carreid out by any Girl Scout affiliate or sponsor. This policy has NO exceptions.


Guidelines for Monitoring Sexual Offenders
Ohio Legal Guidelines and Classifications of Sexually Oriented Offenses:
The state of Ohio has classified sexual offenders into 3 tiers. Each tier includes potentially serious sexual offenses but the Tier II and Tier III offenses increase in seriousness, including reflecting convictions for other sexual offenses and/or violent crimes. Only Tier II and Tier III offenders are subject to community notification, although all three tiers of sex offenders are listed on the sex offender registry.
(Based on Ohio Revised Code 2950.01 http://codes.Ohio.gov/orc/2950.01)

Ohio Notification Guidelines
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio follow state of Ohio guidelines for the type of information that a youth serving agency may share with parents or the organization’s staff and volunteers. This specifically includes notifying parents and volunteers, "that they have received notice that a person subject to community notification is residing, employed, or attending a school or institution of higher education within the specified geographical notification area and that certain information concerning the registrant is a public record and is open to inspection…at the office of the sheriff with whom the registrant has registered, and on the state and local internet databases established by the attorney general…"
(Based on Ohio Administrative Code 109:5-2-04 http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/109%3A5-2-04)

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Monitoring and Notification Guidelines
Council Properties
Monitoring – Girl Scouts of Western Ohio property (camps and Girl Scout Centers) will be monitored for the presence of registered sexual offenders on a regular basis. 

If a sexual offender is identified within a one mile radius of the property, the following procedure will be implemented:
  • The local sheriff’s department will be contacted to verify the registration and collect information to better assess the risk to Girl Scouts. Based on the specific crime and the recommendation of the county sheriff, a decision will be made on notification. 
  • If there is a recommendation to notify volunteers and/or parents, they will be notified in writing and provided with all available information on the registered sexual offender, along with a "Girl Safety Sheet" and sample parent notification letter, which can be found on the council website. 
  • A copy of the notification letter will be posted at a designated site at affected council properties. 

Troop/Group Meeting Sites
Troop leaders are encouraged to use the Sexual Offender Registry to monitor the potential presence of sexual offenders near their troop/group meeting sites. Should a sexual offender be identified within one mile of the meeting site, please contact the county sheriff, following steps 1 and 2 above. 

If a parent letter is sent out, a copy of the letter should also be sent to the Girl Scout of Western Ohio to your regional Girl Scout Center, ATTN: Director of Regional Services.

Prevention
All Girl Scout volunteers are encouraged to provide girls with information and activities that will prepare them to "stay safe." This includes:
  • Following Safety-Wise Checkpoints guidelines such as maintaining proper adult ratios, ensuring that girls stay with their buddies and monitoring where girls are at all times.
  • Review safety lessons with girls such as what girls should do if they are approached by a stranger. (See the Girl Scout Brownie Handbook, pg. 62-65 or the Girl Scout Junior Handbook, pg. 92-93).
  • Distributing and discussing the "Girl Safety Sheet", which can be found on the council website.

Sex Offender Registry 
The registry is available on-line. The website information is listed below. If you do not have access to a computer, you can call the county sheriff office for more information.

 Ohio Counties                              Website E-Mail Alert?
Allen County www.acso-oh.us YES
Auglaize County www.auglaizecounty.org 
Brown County http://www.esorn.ag.state.oh.us NO
Butler County http://butlersheriff.org NO
Champaign County www.countysherif.tripod.com NO
Clark County www.clarkcountysheriff.com YES
Clermont County http://clermontsheriff.org YES
Clinton County www.clintonsheriff.com YES
Darke County www.darkecountysheriff.org YES
Defiance County www.defiance-county.com/dcso YES
Fulton County www.fultoncountyoh.com/fcso YES
Greene County www.co.greene.oh.us/sheriff YES
Hancock County www.hancocksheriff.org YES
Hardin County www.hardinsheriff.com YES
Henry County www.henrycountysheriff.com YES
Hamilton County http://www.hcso.org YES
Logan County www.login.oh.us/sheriff YES
Lucas County www.lucascountysheriff.org YES
Mercer County www.mercercountysheriff.com YES
Miami County www.co.miami.oh.us/sheriff YES
Montgomery County www.montgomery.oh.us/sheriff YES 
Paulding County www.pauldingohsheriff.com YES
Preble County www.preblecountysheriff.org YES
Putnam County www.sheriffoff.com YES
Ottawa County www.ottawacountysheriff.org YES
Shelby County www.shelbycountysheriff.com NO
VanWert County www.vanwertcountysheriff.com YES
Warren County http://www.wcsooh.org YES
Williams County www.williamscosheriff.com NO
Wood County www.woodcountysheriff.com YES
 
Indiana Counties
State-wide registry http://indianasheriffs.org NO
(Includes Dearborn County & Ohio County 

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What should you tell your children? 
A. DON’T accept a ride from this person; DON’T go into their home or yard. TELL your parents if this person offers you toys, money or gifts. Avoid scary details. Include general information when speaking to children. You know more than your child needs to know. Use language that is honest and age-appropriate (e.g. "there are people who do bad things to children").
Other safety tips to discuss with your children:
Teach your children to dial 911 and to use a pay phone without money.
Teach your children to trust their feelings and say NO and run away from a situation that doesn’t feel right.
Encourage your children to tell you if the sex offender (or anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable) initiates contact with them.
Review the safety tips with your children.
DO RUN, SCREAM and GET AWAY if someone is bothering them; DON’T keep secrets; DON’T assist strangers; DON’T go places alone; DO ask questions and DO talk about any uncomfortable feelings or interactions.
Make it a habit to LISTEN to your children and to believe them. If a child feels listened to and believed about small everyday things, they are more likely to share the big scary things with you. Be sensitive to changes in your child’s behavior. Pay attention to your child’s feelings.

Q. There is a sex offender living next to me, why wasn’t I notified? 
A. Not all offenders are subject to community notification. The State of Ohio mandates that the notification of neighbors be done on selected Tier II and Tier III offenders. Sexual Offender Registry Notifications will inform you of any offender regardless of the classification. 

Sex Offender Myths and Facts
Myth: "Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers." 
Fact: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim or the victim’s family, regardless of whether the victim is a child or an adult.  Six out of every 10 sexual assaults occur in the homes of victims, family members, or friends (Greenfeld, 1997)

Myth: "The majority of sexual offenders are caught, convicted, and in prison." 
Fact: Only a fraction of those who commit sexual assault are apprehended and convicted for their crimes. Most convicted sex offenders eventually are released to the community under probation or parole supervision. 

Myth: "Most sex offenders reoffend." 
Fact: Reconviction data suggest that this is not the case. Further, re-offense rates vary among different types of sex offenders. Child molesters had a 13% reconviction rate for sexual offenses and a 37% reconviction rate for new, non-sex offenses over a five year period. (Hanson and Bussiere, 1998) (From US Justice Department, Center for Sex Offender Management) Did you know that:
• 45% of sexual assault victims are under 12 years of age?
• 75% of victims know their attacker?
• 50% of sex offenders re-offend?
• More than half of all sexual assaults occur within a mile of the victim’s home?
• Sex offenders cross socio-economic boundaries, living in both the riches and the poorest of neighborhoods?
• 80% of all addresses have at least one offender within a mile?